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Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern

Baseball, Pizza, Franchising, and a Prohibition Era Confectionery Shop

As a child growing up there was nothing better than getting pizza after a little league baseball game and for those of you that know Staten Island, NY, well, there was and is no better place than Denino’s Pizzeria and Tavern. So many memories… and this past spring when my 12 year old son’s travel baseball team came to play a game in Staten Island, well… I made sure that the tradition passed on to my son, Alex, and so we went to Denino’s for pizza. The emotional connection that certain very unique and special businesses have on a childhood and on generations of families is quite rare and difficult to describe but Denino’s is one of those special businesses.

So this past year our entire team was extremely proud and glad to be working with Michael Burke, Denino’s, and their entire team in assisting and guiding them in the launch of the Denino’s franchise system. Unlike many other franchise systems focused on volume growth and rapid expansion, from the very, start Michael and his team insisted on implementing a franchise system that maintained the unique character and qualities that has made Denino’s a landmark for over seven decades. The franchise development model that we followed and adopted is not one focused on rapid expansion but on organic expansion that is initially focused on Denino’s ever expanding base of raving fans.

It is always interesting to see the progression of a business and how entrepreneurs overcome obstacles, try their best and, in certain cases, create landmark institutions. In the case of Denino’s, here are some interesting facts:

  • Denino’s was the sponsor of the 1964 Staten Island Little League Team to win the Little League World Series.
  • Talk about true entrepreneurship, today’s historic Pizzeria and Tavern started off as a confectionery shop during the prohibition era.
  • Not until 1951 (28 years after the Denino’s family first started the business) did they introduce what is now Denino’s famous pizza.
  • Among many other awards, Denino’s has been consistently named Staten Island’s Best Pizza.

The Denino’s story is quite compelling and interesting on so many levels. This historic pizzeria started off as a candy shop and although pizza came along it was not part of the original plan. Which gets to the point that entrepreneurship and success is more about a mindset of hard work, trial and error, adapting and never giving up. If the Denino’s were just content selling candy, well I am sure almost no one would know about Denino’s. Likewise, if Michael Burke and his family, through hard work and dedication, did not stay true to Denino’s roots and their dedicated customer focus, well, like many other family owned businesses, Denino’s may not of stayed on the growth trajectory that it continues to enjoy.

The true testament of Denino’s is the fact that the generational story of Denino’s continues to grow among yet another generation – including my 12 year old son who sat there eating pizza in a dirty, grass-stained baseball uniform.

For more information about the Denino’s franchise system, visit:

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